Florida legislature passes 24 hour wait period for abortions 

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Quote of the week:.“No woman wakes up and says, ‘Hey, I’ll have an abortion tomorrow.’ They’ve thought about it. Stop chipping away at our rights and throwing these stumbling blocks in front of these women who have decided to do what they want to do.” – Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa

Dear little ladies of Florida,

We've done some cigar smoking, some whisky drinking and some chatting with some of our very generous conservative donors recently, and they've made a convincing argument that you can't be trusted to know your own minds. You need a little help being guided toward the right decision, and we've decided that, even though the Supreme Court determined more than four decades ago that abortion is a fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution, you really shouldn't just go around exercising it.

We know that you think you've thought things through by the time you've decided to have an abortion. All of the agonizing about whether you can afford to have a baby, whether you have the support system in place to help you care for a child for the next 18 years, whether you even believe this horrifyingly divided, climate-challenged, antidepressant-drenched world is the kind of place you want to bring more children into – that's nice and all, but we want you to go back and look at your decision again. Think harder, longer (see what we did there?). We want you to reflect. This is a serious decision, you know – not one you should make without our intervention and guidance.

73: Percent of Florida counties that had no abortion clinics as of 2011, according to the Guttmacher Institute

To that end, we've decided that you need to have a waiting period of 24 hours before you can have an abortion in Florida. Both houses of the Legislature have agreed (save for some aggravatingly vocal Democrats, including House Minority Leader Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach, who called this a "24-hour ban" on abortion) on a bill that makes it mandatory for you to postpone your abortion for one more day so you can have a "reflection period."

22: Percent of Florida women living in those counties, according to Guttmacher

No matter that we already subject you to "counseling" by a physician who must inform you in person of the nature and risks of having an abortion and give you state-prepared pamphlets describing the fetus at various stages of development, a list of crisis-pregnancy organizations that provide "alternatives" to abortion, and information on getting access to prenatal care. No matter that, in order to even have an abortion in this state, you need to really search to find a provider, since state law places restrictions on who may provide abortions and what licensing they need to obtain to offer the procedure. No matter that, if you're on public assistance, or if you have insurance obtained through a state exchange that receives any public dollars, your abortion won't be covered. No matter that, if you're in your third trimester, the only way you can get an abortion is if two physicians put it in writing that the procedure is medically necessary. You still need to reflect for another 24 hours to think about your actions. If we're lucky, maybe it'll take you so long to decide on your own whether you think an abortion is right for you, find a doctor in your area who's willing and able to provide the service, save up the money to possibly pay for the whole procedure out of pocket, travel to see the doctor for counseling, find out the age of your fetus, then wait 24 more hours to "reflect," you'll be in your third trimester and you won't be permitted to have the abortion anyway (unless you can prove that your pregnancy could kill you). See? Now you don't even have to worry about deciding what to do, because we've done it for you.

88: Number of abortion providers in the whole state, as of 2011

The 24-hour waiting period bill has passed handily in both the House and Senate, and now we're just waiting for Gov. Rick Scott to sign it. And you know he always knows what's best for you, so you can be sure this bill will be law in no time.

It's for the best, really. Take some time. Reflect on it. You'll see.


Your Republican legislators



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